Turns out that Missouri pays cash for executions. Chris McDaniel for Buzzfeed news:
Shortly before each execution in Missouri, a high-ranking corrections official takes envelopes filled with thousands of dollars in cash to the state’s executioners. The cash limits the paper trail — and helps keep the identities of the executioners hidden.
Most of the envelopes are filled with hundred-dollar bills. And on the outside, the envelopes carry instructions: They aren’t to be opened until “completion of services rendered.”
The executioners are given pseudonyms to protect their identities: M2, the nurse, gets $2,400, while M3, the anesthesiologist, gets the envelope marked $3,000. M7, the drug supplier, gets the most, an envelope filled with $7,178.88.
It adds up.
Missouri Director of Adult Institutions David Dormire has handed out nearly a hundred envelopes filled with cash since November 2013. Over that span of time, Dormire delivered $284,551.84 in cash to the small group of individuals who help the state carry out the death penalty, according to a BuzzFeed News review of receipts, an audit of the payments, a spreadsheet showing cash withdrawals, and memos marked “confidential” in which the payments were discussed.
I kind of get it. Giving out cash avoids a paper trail. Records just get you in trouble. You know, subpoena them. Bring them to court. Or file public records requests. All that stuff. Better to keep it quiet.
In fact, it's really better to keep it completely secret. Especially from IRS. Which might want to collect taxes. Of course, maybe the folks taking the money under the table are reporting it. Sure they are. What we know is that Missouri isn't reporting it.
Sure, the law requires that Missouri give the good-guy killers of bad-guy killers 1099 forms. Which they also have to file with IRS. But they don't. Because those good-guy killers, it seems, won't kill on command if IRS is told about it. At least, that's what George Lombardini, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections explained at a budget hearing Monday. Danny Wicentowski of Riverfront Times was there.
“It is my understanding that giving 1099s to these individuals would reveal who they were, and would mean the end of the death penalty, because these individuals wouldn’t do it,” Lombardi said, responding to questions from State Representative Rep. Jeremy LaFaver (D-Kansas City).
Of course, being good guys
Lombardi added that his staff counsels executioners to report their cash payments to the IRS.
No doubt. And surely, they all do. Being good-guy killers.
LaFaver had other questions. Why, he asked Dormire, aren't the cash payments listed in the Corrections Department budget?
We don't include a whole lot of things that are expenses; we try to hit the highlights of the major items.
You know, maybe they don't budget for donuts. Donuts and killing. Yeah. But ooops. It appears that donuts are a budget item.
Questioned further, Dormire couldn't identify another example of an expense not included in the budget.
So it's just killing.
Which didn't much please LaFaver.
"I respectfully submit and request that executing somebody, it's a big deal," LaFaver shot back. "If we're going to spend money to do that, I think it should be included in the description, that this is the area of the budget where money goes in envelopes in cash to kill people. Maybe worded differently, I understand you probably would. I probably wouldn't."
Really, though. It's just about balance. On the one hand, Missouri by god wants to be killing folks. Have to violate the law in order to do it? What's more important, anyway? Executing bad guys or paying taxes.
They call it the Show-Me State.
Show me the money.